March 18 (Reuters) – Russian President Vladimir Putin arrived in Crimea on Saturday on an unannounced visit to mark the ninth anniversary of Russia’s annexation of the peninsula from Ukraine.
Putin was greeted by the Russian-installed governor of Sevastopol, Mikhail Razvozhayev, and taken to see a new children’s centre and art school on what the official said was a surprise visit.
State media did not immediately broadcast any remarks from Putin, a day after the International Criminal Court said it had issued an arrest warrant against him and accused him of the war crime of illegally deporting hundreds of children from Ukraine.
Putin has yet to comment publicly on the move. His spokesman has called it “null and void”, and said that Russia finds the very questions raised by the ICC to be “outrageous and unacceptable”.
Russia seized Crimea in 2014, eight years before launching its full-scale invasion of Ukraine. Ukraine says it will fight to expel Russia from Crimea and all other territory that Russia has occupied in the year-long war.
Reporting by Reuters
Writing by Mark Trevelyan
Editing by Ros Russell
Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.